Please read the following memo from Superintendent of Schools, Andrew Dolloff, regarding changes in traffic patterns, student drop-off locations, and pedestrian/bike access at Yarmouth Elementary School and Harrison Middle School due to upcoming construction projects.
I am pleased to inform you that construction will be starting soon at Yarmouth Elementary School and Harrison Middle School. Arthur C. Dudley Contractors have been hired as the builders to oversee this extensive project, and they are scheduled to begin work during February vacation week. Erection of fencing will take place on Saturday, February 15, with tree removal and site preparation beginning on Monday, February 17.
Once this construction begins, there will be several significant inconveniences of which I want you to be aware.
1. The bike/ped path leading from West Elm Street to the Elementary School will be closed throughout the project. This is being closed temporarily for two main reasons:
a. In order to eliminate increased water from impervious surfaces running into the neighborhood on Tenney Street, a drainage unit is being installed that will draw the water from theschool’s new roof into the Town’s stormwater system.
b. To minimize the removal of trees in that area, the system will be installed directly underneath the existing path. The Police Department will be moving the crossing guard from the current location on West Elm up to the intersection with McCartney Street to assist students headed to and from YES and HMS.Because of the expansive construction that will take place at the Elementary School, including the construction of a new parking area between Central Office and the School, it is necessary to ensure there is no pedestrian traffic in that area until the project is completed. Fencing will ensure pedestrians and cyclists are not entering the construction zone.
2. Informal pathways leading from adjoining neighborhoods to HMS will be impeded by fencing. Pedestrians will be able to walk along the outside of fences, but may have a longer traverse than is currently allowed by the pathways. Fencing will be removed once construction is completed.
3. Parking will become even more challenging at both schools.At HMS, the "back"parking lot (closest to YES) will be used as a staging area for construction vehicles and materials. Much of the uppermost parking lot (closest to Hillside Street) will also be gated and open only for construction vehicles and equipment. At YES, the small parking area just in front of Central Office will be closed off for construction staging, leaving the larger, lower parking area – which will become two-way for the duration of the construction. - along with the parking along Winslow Field for school activities.
4. Student drop-off and pick-up at YES will be significantly different, as we will reserve what is now the “bus loop” for passenger vehicles, and buses will drop students at the corner of the playground, where the bus loop meets McCartney Street. Temporary fencing will provide a protected space for students to move back and forth from the bus to the playground. We will be out on the sidewalk the first few days after February break to help everyone adjust to the new traffic patterns. I am sure we will see things that need to be adjusted as we go through this process, but I am confident that we all have the best interests of children and their safety in mind, so we will make thoughtful decisions throughout this challenge to our routine.
5. We'll also be losing the 5th grade playground starting after the February break. We will have a small area outside of the art room available for 5th grade students who arrive atschool before the school day begins. They will be able to engage in a few activities in that area and will have access to the larger playground for morning and afternoon recess. Principals at each school are making plans to adjust scheduling of large-scale events to alleviate some of the parking concerns, but we are well aware that this temporary inconvenience will be noticeable and problematic for some.
The Middle School project should be completed by the end of this calendar year, while the Elementary School renovation and expansion will take approximately two years to finish.
We ask for your patience as we undergo this transformation in the school district.
Andrew R. Dolloff, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools